Let's make the worst layout ever!

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depletedvespene

30 May 2018, 17:37

As you probably know by now, I like to create new layouts and tinker with existing ones; first, there needs to be a well-defined set of goals and restrictions to keep in mind, and then comes the work of designing the best possible layout that fulfills the former and respects the latter. Today I thought... why not, for shirts and gargoyles, design a horrendous layout?

While chatting about it on the Telegram channel, Samuelcable pointed out that it would be a matter of just throwing about needed keys, but that'd be too easy — toss a bunch of keycaps around an alphanum block, record where they fall and call it a day? No... this thing should superficially look like a normal layout, but actually be annoying to the point of near-uselessness.

I decided to design a layout with the following goals and restrictions:
  • Be confined to the general shape of regular keyboards. For simplicity, a common TKL keyboard (the numpad can be studied later on).
  • Be generally recognizable as a QWERTY keyboard (messing with the logical layout of the letters and symbols should be mostly a matter left to the upper level of logical and national layouts).
  • Superficially look like a usable keyboard layout, but be horrendous to actually use.
This is what I've come up with.
Tagotis-TKL.png
The Tagotis layout (v.1).
Tagotis-TKL.png (22.49 KiB) Viewed 1140 times

Let's comment on some of its main features:
  • These days, many people dislike the Ins key and question its purpose. It is therefore punished to be alone in a corner and think about it did!
  • The F-keys have always been divided in three blocks. It follows, then, that they should be grouped by their divisibility by three.
  • The lock keys have to stick together. They share analogous functionalities, after all.
  • Experts in mathematics have determined that, mostly, 0<1 and, specially, 0<9.
  • Latin Enter for a modern world. Note that an ISO version of this could be crafted as well, to appease people who are too European for their own good.
  • Space is an important character, so it needs two dedicated keys instead of just one.
  • Smart people correct their mistakes. We should therefore make it easy to do so, not harder, in either direction.
  • When moving around, one's focus should be on the window or the screen, not just on the tiny cursor.
What do you think? How this could be made even worse? :mrgreen:


P.D.: there's the seed of an actually interesting idea that I deformed mercilessly here to make it awful. Can you spot it?

rich1051414

30 May 2018, 18:45

How about this?

(Shift+Escape = Second Space)
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Screenshot_3.png
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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 00:16

It would seem that every time that I think I've come up with a new idea (whether it is a serious one or tongue-in-cheek), I end up finding out later that someone beat me to it. I say, let's make a layout that "should superficially look like a normal layout, but actually be annoying to the point of near-uselessness."...

... and turns out that Compaq beat me to it on this kind of game. Check this numpad out:
Tagotis-grade-numpad.png
Numpad with a tinynav. Picture copied from https://www.ebay.com/itm/263116675072
Tagotis-grade-numpad.png (1.85 MiB) Viewed 934 times
The 4×2 nav's layout is fine... but it's located above the numpad (making it more difficult to access) and it uses tiny keys (making it even more difficult to access) for no good reason. The main numpad omits the Num Lock key... so it compensates by shifting numpad/ and numpad* one place to the left and enlarging numpad- to 2U, again for no good reason. I understand omitting Num Lock, but that now-available key just begged to be reassigned to something useful, like Backspace, Tab or (gasp!) a comma.

I now have to wonder what kind of... oddities... did they think up at Compaq but did not dare to actually manufacture.

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mike52787
Alps Aficionado

01 Aug 2018, 00:25

Image
Spoiler:
trololololol

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 00:53

Woah, what a dashing, dashing proof-of-concept keyboard layout! It even has the tongue-in-cheek "Let's annoy Mike" out-of-place keys. It's only missing the Fn key to the right of RShift.

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scottc

01 Aug 2018, 00:58

Contrary to the idea of this post, I've been working on my ideal layout and want to share it. It looks something like this:
Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 23.53.21.png
Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 23.53.21.png (68.85 KiB) Viewed 907 times
I've made some ergonomic adjustments from the standard ANSI (which stands American National Special International layout, no wonder it's so unergonomic with a name like that), including:

- modifiers blown out to the sides - it's good for your posture or something, really, there was a study;
- staggered Function One to Function Twelve keys; this makes it so that you can't accidentally hit eg. F3 instead of F8 - they're offset vertically now so it's physically impossible
- half-height bottom row for easier access to the Numerical Paddington (which has been moved to a more ergonautical layout)
- you can no longer accidentally type spaces; it's entirely impossible

Please don't critique my layout as I already know that it's perfect.

Edit: Somehow I have been able to improve on perfection by making the numpad completely operable with the user's left hand. Please see:
Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 00.02.52.png
Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 00.02.52.png (121.65 KiB) Viewed 893 times
Last edited by scottc on 01 Aug 2018, 01:03, edited 1 time in total.

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 01:02

It'll be MORE perfect if you move Home one place up, make Delete 2U tall and put Insert between ↑ and End, rotated in 30°.

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scottc

01 Aug 2018, 01:04

I edited the post to add a second, improved layout.

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Laser
emacs -nw

01 Aug 2018, 01:06

For symmetry, the Caps Lock key should be similar to the Enter Backspace key - PERFECTION! :)

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 01:06

scottc wrote: I edited the post to add a second, improved layout.
Indeed, improved. But now you need a "left handed" version of this as well.

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 01:07

Laser wrote: For symmetry, the Caps Lock key should be similar to the Enter Backspace key - PERFECTION! :)
Nonsense. The Lock keys HAVE to be placed together. See the Tagotis layout at the beginning of the thread.

Now, symmetrical Backspace and Del keys... we're on to something (as the Tagotis layout already sports).

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scottc

01 Aug 2018, 01:09

How many big-ass enter mods could we fit on a TKL? Asking for a friend.

Does any current company have the molds for a left-hand side big-ass enter???
depletedvespene wrote: Indeed, improved. But now you need a "left handed" version of this as well.
Unnecessary, only communists are left-handed.

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 01:14

scottc wrote: How many big-ass enter mods could we fit on a TKL? Asking for a friend.
Don't limit yourself to a TKL. Think battleship!
scottc wrote: Does any current company have the molds for a left-hand side big-ass enter???
Doesn't matter. We craft one prototype, show it off a bit and ALL the keycap makers (Chinese and otherwise, artisans and otherwise) will RUN to make their own. This new key will sell itself!
scottc wrote:
depletedvespene wrote: Indeed, improved. But now you need a "left handed" version of this as well.
Unnecessary, only communists are left-handed.
You're right. So, what they need is a left-handed version of this keyboard that adds the $, €, ¥ and ₽ signs to the numpad. If there's one thing commies LOVE (but don't dare say it loud), it's MMMMMMONEY!

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mark201200

01 Aug 2018, 01:21

depletedvespene wrote: While chatting about it on the Telegram channel
mind sharing a link?

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Myoth

01 Aug 2018, 01:24

mark201200 wrote:
depletedvespene wrote: While chatting about it on the Telegram channel
mind sharing a link?
t.me/deskthority

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Laser
emacs -nw

01 Aug 2018, 01:38

depletedvespene wrote:
Laser wrote: For symmetry, the Caps Lock key should be similar to the Enter Backspace key - PERFECTION! :)
Nonsense. The Lock keys HAVE to be placed together. See the Tagotis layout at the beginning of the thread.

Now, symmetrical Backspace and Del keys... we're on to something (as the Tagotis layout already sports).
Hey, it's my layout, my future patent, and your money :mrgreen:

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 01:42

I see here my layout and scottc's... where's yours? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Laser
emacs -nw

01 Aug 2018, 01:55

Surely it's scott's - with the symmetrical Big Ass Caps Lock mod! 8-) :shock: :o :D

As history teaches, it's not who makes the layout, but who's patenting it :ugeek:

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mark201200

01 Aug 2018, 02:00

Myoth wrote:
mark201200 wrote:
depletedvespene wrote: While chatting about it on the Telegram channel
mind sharing a link?
t.me/deskthority
Thanks.
By the way, here's my layout!

Image

As you can see, there are many features borrowed from the space cadet keyboard that everyone loves!
I've also included a feature that I love about my AEK's: D and K homing bumps!
But there's much more!

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 02:04

mark201200 wrote: By the way, here's my layout!

Image

As you can see, there are many features borrowed from the space cadet keyboard that everyone loves!
I've also included a feature that I love about my AEK's: D and K homing bumps!
But there's much more!
Well... needs more work. Remember: "this thing should superficially look like a normal layout, but actually be annoying to the point of near-uselessness."

Also, that Enter key is excessively large. Screams for Latin Enter instead.

orihalcon

01 Aug 2018, 05:11

No matter the layout, must be done with all locking switches that stay down until pressed a second time ;)

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 13:10

orihalcon wrote: No matter the layout, must be done with all locking switches that stay down until pressed a second time ;)
Why didn't I think of this? I bow to your superior expertise and knowledge.

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Muirium
µ

01 Aug 2018, 13:15

Another guiding principle: all T block arrow clusters should have up/down left/right either flipped or, preferably, randomised.

Really, the last thing you want is to conform to expectations.

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 13:26

Muirium wrote: Another guiding principle: all T block arrow clusters should have up/down left/right either flipped or, preferably, randomised.

Really, the last thing you want is to conform to expectations.
I disagree. Consistency is key to a (superficially) useful layout, and so is to "conform" (yet actually subvert) expectations. Look at the arrow cluster in the Tagotis layout — or the mods, for that matter. They're not random and they ARE consistently placed (it's just that they respond to different expectations).

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Muirium
µ

01 Aug 2018, 13:32

I know where you’re coming from. What I mean by random is better expressed “inscrutable”. For instance, all those keyboards of the 80s (Apple…) with their arrow keys all in a horizontal line: bleurgh! As soon as I encountered my first inverted T cluster, I couldn’t believe the straight line brigade. Arrows felt like an arcane hack, when presented like that. But in an immediately grasped arrangement, they were transformative.

Ironic that Apple, of all people, was so counterintuitive for so long. Only their battleship had the arrows right. The M0110’s lack of hem completely, I can understand. HHKB user that I am! But doing things wrong is worse, so much worse, than not doing them at all.

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chuckdee

01 Aug 2018, 17:27

I think that it's more effective as a terrible layout if the changes are subtle, and easily forgotten when typing if you're used to normal layouts. It also has to be of the sort that a simple keymap couldn't solve, IMO.

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sealclubber

01 Aug 2018, 17:40

Image

Now to defend my thesis:
This layout is created with maximum logic in mind, and high productivity will result from it. I guarantee it.

-The lock keys are grouped together for convenience, because that makes sense
-The windows and control keys are now in easily accessible places, and the alt and tab which are frequently used together are near each other
-The arrow keys on the bottom are grouped by axis
-A control+alt+delete key is in an easily accessible place so as to conveniently lock your workstation
-All vowels have bolder print and are homing, as they are used the most often
-Space and Backspace are grouped together because of similar functionality
-All keys with a left-right pair (e.g. < >, [ ], etc) are grouped next to each other
-Enter and Esc are in easy to find places, so you can't complain if you mistype
-The Delete key is enlarged to allow for easier correction of mistakes. Also note its proximity to the Backspace key for ease of use.
-The legends on the number row are grouped alphabetically, and encased by the parenthesis
-F11's placement is to enlarge windows more easily, and enhance productivity
-Shift is where it is because that is where there is space left
-The numpad is grouped numerically, because it should be, along with 0 touching the 9
-numpad Enter is where it is because all the rest of the numbers need to touch, so it can't go on the right. numpad period is there because it's necessary.
Spoiler:
Copyright Apple 2018: Think Different

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depletedvespene

01 Aug 2018, 17:51

sealclubber wrote: This layout is created with maximum logic in mind, and high productivity will result from it. I guarantee it.

-The lock keys are grouped together for convenience, because that makes sense
Grouping lock keys together? We agree. The chosen place? Not so much... think of the monstrosity that an ISO Scroll Lock key would be.
sealclubber wrote: -A control+alt+delete key is in an easily accessible place so as to conveniently lock your workstation
I have to wonder if this key could be (temporarily, at the user's discretion) be remapped to F5, so as to allow convenient reloading of the eBay auction pages during a bidding war.

User avatar
sealclubber

01 Aug 2018, 17:56

depletedvespene wrote:
sealclubber wrote: This layout is created with maximum logic in mind, and high productivity will result from it. I guarantee it.

-The lock keys are grouped together for convenience, because that makes sense
Grouping lock keys together? We agree. The chosen place? Not so much... think of the monstrosity that an ISO Scroll Lock key would be.
sealclubber wrote: -A control+alt+delete key is in an easily accessible place so as to conveniently lock your workstation
I have to wonder if this key could be (temporarily, at the user's discretion) be remapped to F5, so as to allow convenient reloading of the eBay auction pages during a bidding war.
Indeed, the grouping of lock keys is paramount to maximum productivity. I will consult with my coworkers to redesign a superior placement.

I enjoy the F5 idea; indeed it is more important to refresh than it is to lock your workstation, as when you are at your keyboard you should always be buying more keyboards. Locking the workstation is for quitters.
Spoiler:
Also I fucking love this thread.

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Laser
emacs -nw

01 Aug 2018, 17:58

Keep the ideas coming! I'm filling out patent proposals as we speak :mrgreen:

I too have a small proposal: Remove the 'f' from the 'Shift' legend, it would make the text shorter and clearer!
Last edited by Laser on 01 Aug 2018, 18:00, edited 1 time in total.

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